Anhydrous alcohol is known to react with aluminum at high temperatures, resulting in aluminum alkoxide formation. However the reaction when a mixture of two or more alcohols are used has not been reported. Moreover the addition of minute quantities of water has been shown to prevent this alkoxide reaction. This paper describes (1) the reaction of aluminum with a number of mixed alcohol solutions near the azeotropy point, and (2) the minimum water concentration, in mixed alcohol solutions, at which the alkoxide reaction was prevented.
Pieces of pure aluminum (JIS-A1085) were reacted with 50ml each of a range of mixed alcohol solutions in a vessel made from SUS304. The solutions were prepared from five kinds of 2-4 carbon alcohol, namely ethanol, n-propanol, iso-propanol, n-butanol and iso-butanol, in different combinations. The reactions were carried out for 72 hours each at 353K, 373K and 393K respectively. Results showed that reactions using mixed alcohol solutions tended to have lower reaction temperatures than those using single-alcohol solutions. The minimum water concentration at which the alkoxide reaction was prevented also tended to be higher for mixed alcohol solutions than for single-alcohol solutions. Considering these results from the point of view of the dissolution phenomenon of alcohol, I postulated that the size, structure and stability of alcoholic clusters in mixed alcohol solutions may be important factors contributing to the reaction.